I really like this stuff. I've been doing my own nails for as long as I can remember and this is one of two (the other the dc revlon pink bc) that helps prevent my peelies and does not stain my nails and helps prevent stains from dark polish that I use. It's awesome! My polish doesnt peel off or chip as easy with this bc. However I can't find it in any local stores anymore and may have to resort to buyin online or looking for a replacement I can buy in a brick and mortar store. If anyone knows of a good replacement please pm me, thanks!
I'd give Toughen Up a zero rating if MakeupAlley would let me. I bought Toughen Up as a substitute for CND Stickey when the Stickey was out of stock. It was a major disappointment; it's hard to believe the two products are made by the same company. I polished my nails with one coat of Toughen Up topped with two coats of Essie nail polish. Within 24 hours the Toughen Up was separating from my nails. I tried this combination twice in one week with the same results. Fortunately, I was able to get a full refund for the Toughen Up. In a review I read elsewhere, someone had a similar failure using two brands of product, and it was suggest the two brands were incompatible. I don't know if that's possible, and I've never had any negative results using CND Stickey with Essie polish.
I'm glad I came here to read how this product fared in actual use.
I've been researching nail strengtheners and hardeners for several days (recently removed artificial nails).
There's so much marketing gimmicks and half-truths that I relied on medscape, dermatologists and registered dieticians for final answers.
I did stumble across CND's technical notes for Toughen Up, hence my interest.
Formaldehyde is a protein cross-linker. It basically bonds the protein layers together, but long-term creates dry/brittle nails.
Toughen Up uses dimethyl urea (DMU) which is supposedly a less harsh and less damaging cross-linking agent.
(after creating a huge chart of wish-list products and ingredients, it looks like ALL so-called "strengtheners" and "hardeners" are basically the same and work by providing structural support to the nail. The benefits of hydrolyzed proteins, calcium, etc. are for creating differing coat thickness.
I'm really disappointed and will probably organize my notes and references in my notepad later. In the end, I'm probably going to try the Trind line of products. Their information was honestly the closest to medical truth that I could find.)
One use of Toughen Up made my nails dry and caused side breakage. It doesn't have formaldehyde, but the second ingredient is denatured alcohol, which is drying.
Pros: Fast drying and my manicure lasted a week without chips. Cons: It made my nails turn yellow after repeated use so I won't be buying this again.
This is a great alternative to Nailtique or Amera's Natural Nail Prtein treatment. As with all strengthening treatments, over-use may cause brittleness, so use as directed and take "breaks".
I alternate this with Creative STICKEY which is a terrific daily base coat.
I also enjoy Amera's hydrating base coat.
At $6 a bottle, this is a great deal for both a strenghtener and a base coat. My polish does not peel as easily as it used to with cheaper base coats or OPI, but I do not have oily cuticles and that always helps.
On the bottle it says it's a natural nail strengthener and base coat. Thankfully I have naturally strong nails so can't really comment on that aspect. However, as a base coat it didn't stop my nails from yellowing with a dark polish. I used OPI's Copper Mountain Copper (a great burgundy) and it really stained through the Toughen Up, and my nails have never stained before. I'll finish the trial-size bottle but only on it's own or with a very pale polish. It contains toluene and formaldehyde resin.